Monastery of Geghard - Armenia
In the last article we saw temple of Garni in Armenia which is quite a popular tourist destination in Armenia. Near to Garni in Kotyak Province, Armenia is Monastery of Geghard. As we know by now that Armenia is a land of monasteries and churches but the location of many of them make them spectacular for viewers as many of them are set up in landscapes of beautiful mountains. Monastery of Geghard is also set up in absolutely beautiful landscape and travelers just love to come and see this place. The scenery from top or from far looks stunning and from close there is quite to explore. Armenia is a country where travelers from one part to another love to travel to explore the length and breadth of it. So, one of the top tourist attractions in Armenia happens to be Monastery of Geghard. Why? Let us explore a bit.
Monastery of Geghard is located in Kotayk province of Armenia and it is listed as UNESCO world heritage site. Monastery of Geghard is said to be the peak of Armenian medieval architecture represented by the monastery’s number of churches and tombs, most of which are cut into rocks. The spectacular towering cliffs which surround the monastery are part of the Azat River gorge, and are listed together with the monastery as the world heritage site. Some of the churches in the monastery are cut out of cliff rocks entirely, while are little more than caves and some are elaborate structures which has complex wall sections and rooms deep inside the cliffs. All these together show you the brilliance of architecture of medieval period of Armenia. Walking to the monastery is a good experience. You can see women selling sweet breads, sheets of dry fruits and various other fruits and also souvenirs. You can also find group of musicians playing music for some time. Right before when you enter the monastery there are some shallow shelves in the cliff where you can throw pebbles as the popular belief says that it make wish come true. Inside the monastery you will find several churches and tombs which are beautiful examples of architectures. Three sides of the complex are protected by ramparts of 12-13th century and the 4th side is protected by cliff behind it. You need to walk inside to explore all the details of all the structure made hundreds of years ago. Outside the complex also there are monuments to see. One of those is St. Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) chapel which is the most ancient preserved monument outside the ramparts. This is located on the western side of the Geghard. It is partially hewed in the rock. You can see there engraved inscriptions on the walls, the earliest of which date back to 1177 and 1181 AD.
Again situated in dramatic mountain space Geghrad Monastery is truly incredible site to visit. It is a medieval monastery in the Kotayk province of Armenia being partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs. First view that one gets from the entrance of Geghard Monastery is amazing and picturesque. Though in part this monastery is said to exist since or before 4th century, however the main cathedral was built in 1215. The path to the Monastery is beautiful and the monastery at the end of the road is even more beautiful. Entrance to the compound is surrounded by high walls on three sides and the mountain on the fourth. When you climb up stone stairs located on the left side of the church, you will pass some very finely carved khatchkars. Is this enough for you to get an itch to go and see this monastery when you are in Armenia? If not, then go visit for yourself. As the Monastery of Geghard is near by temple of Garni so those visiting Geghard should also visit temple of Garni and vice versa.[caption id="attachment_1093" align="alignnone" width="900"] Tomb at back of Geghard Monastery complex.[/caption]
Even today Monastery of Geghard remains with its remarkable rock cut churches and tombs and not forget the scenic ambience in which the monastery exists. This makes monastery of Geghard a great tourist attraction in Armenia. So include Monastery of Geghard on your Armenia tour and explore the place in detail.